4 Steps to Planning a “Must Attend” Event

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If you’re like many entrepreneurs, hosting an event is probably on your calendar this year. If not, it should be!

What better way to establish yourself as a thought leader while gathering a room (online or in-person) full of prospects and giving them a taste of your magic?

Events offer a number of opportunities to promote a new offering, get publicity for a book or simply make new connections.

Here’s a step by step guide to get you started:

Select the Topic

Got an idea for a program you’d like to host? Great. Before you start planning the logistics, your first step is to do some research with your target audience. Events require time and money, so it’s important to gauge the interest and need for the topic before booking a venue. Asking a few clients for their feedback on the idea or post a question to your community on Facebook or Twitter will help determine the interest and also give you insight into the questions or hot topics you should address during the event.

The Format

Now that you have the topic narrowed down, your next step is to determine the best format to deliver the content. Virtual webinar? Small group workshop? Large scale conference?

The content and subject matter often dictates the format. For an introduction or overview of a topic, a virtual webinar may be the best fit. If your topic is more in-depth and requires more training, an in-person workshop works best.

Choose a Date

Selecting the date seems simple, but is often the most difficult part of the process. There are a few things to consider when picking a date including the prime day and time for your target market. For example, hosting an event for corporate executives in the evening is ideal, since they may not be able to leave work during the day.

Also, beware of any holidays that may coincide with the dates as that will impact attendance.

Finally, remember to leave enough time to market the event. It takes anywhere from two weeks to six months to market an event properly. Make sure you have enough lead-time to promote the event so you can fill those seats!.

Select a Venue

If you’re hosting a virtual event, you still need to pick a “venue.” Think about where will you host the event online: Facebook or Zoom or will use an teleconference service like Free Conference Call or Instant Teleseminar?

For in-person events, the size and format of your event will determine which venue you select. For smaller events, you can rent a space at locations ranging from the public library to a local cafe to a yoga studio. If you’re looking for a more professional setting, a co-working space or conference room could provide the perfect location.

Now that you’ve got the basics nailed down, it’s time to promote the event!

Host an event in 2018? Let us show you the way! Begin by scheduling a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Transform your Storytelling from Boring to Binge Worthy

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I’ve been binge-watching Friday Night Lights. Have you seen it? I missed the series when it originally aired, so I’m catching up on all the popular television drama. On the surface it is the story of a high school football coach, and his team, in a small town in Texas. But it is so much more than that!

I’m not a football fan, but I was immediately captivated by Coach Taylor (played by the fabulous Kyle Chandler) and the Dillon Panthers. Each episode dives deep into the lives of the high school team members both on and off the football field. Unlike most high school teen dramas it’s complex, heart-warming, and inspiring. Whether you’re a football fan or not, you can’t help but cheer on the Panthers when they take the field!

Like any binge-worthy series, each episode draws you in, takes you on an emotional journey and leaves you wanting more.

When one episode ends, I watch another.

And then another…

Suddenly it’s 1 a.m. and I don’t know what’s happened to the last 3 hours!

That’s the power of great storytelling.

Have you ever wondered what makes a great story? How to craft a compelling story that will captivate your audience?

Whether you are writing a keynote speech, a sales page or a blog post, there are core elements that make up a great story.

Evoke emotion

Have you ever watched an episode of This is Us and not cried your eyes out? There’s a reason why the series is so popular! The series take viewers on an emotional journey by switching between the character’s present, past and future life experiences. Each character has a compelling story that highlights their best moments, while also showing their flaws. This display of the human experience draws you in and keeps you watching each week.

You can relate to the story

If I were to ask you what your favorite movie, book or TV show is, what would you say?

I recently asked my Facebook community this question and was overwhelmed by the response! The group lit up as they talked about their favorite characters in books, television and film.

One participant spoke about her love of the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was a fan of the series for many reasons, but in particular that its title character was a strong female. She was inspired by, and saw herself, in Buffy.

That series ended 15 years ago, but it still stands out in her mind because she connected with Buffy’s presence. She identified with the character making it resonate in the present date.

Compelling characters

All great stories need characters to bring that story to life. Whether hero or anti-hero, they inspire us, captivate us, make us laugh and cry. The best characters are those that are compelling. They are not perfect. In fact, they are often flawed. The flaws draw in the audience as they identify with the human experience.


Great storytelling inspires you to take action, make a change or simply to know what is possible. In one of my favorite TED talks, Nancy Duarte breaks down the elements of famous speeches such as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” and Steve Jobs iPhone product launch. She explains stories have an arc that shifts between discussing what is and what is possible or what could be. Storytellers that bridge the gap between what is and what could be make the greatest impact. They are able to inspire their audiences to know what is possible and to make a change to move towards the new idea.

Now it’s your turn! What is your favorite storytelling secret? Try using one of the secrets above in your storytelling and see what impact it makes!

If you’d like support with creating a compelling story, book your complimentary session.

How to Impress Event Organizers (So You Can Book More Speaking Gigs)


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As a business owner, you know there are many benefits to speaking. It’s an opportunity to increase your visibility, connect with a roomful of potential clients and showcase your expertise.

When it comes to getting booked, event organizers have a different focus. They want their audience to have a valuable experience and want to recruit speakers who support their goal of educating or inspiring participants.

How to find speaking engagements + get the gig

There are many ways to research and find speaking engagements. Getting booked requires taking the next step and connecting with meeting and event planners – those who are in charge of organizing the conference, meeting or event you’d like to present at.

The meeting organizer, the person you want to connect with about speaking opportunities, is often listed on the event website. You can also search on LinkedIn to find the best contact. Asking your network for introductions and attending events at which you’d like to present can also put you in touch with the person, or people, recruiting speakers.

Perfecting the Pitch

Event planners are busy people. In order to get their attention and make a great impression, there are a few things that go into the perfect speaking proposal or pitch.

Each event has different requirements they request when requesting speaker applications. Often they look for a brief topic/session description, bio and past speaking engagements you can share.

When it comes to submitting the application there are a few rules of the road to help you get the Yes!


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Make it relevant

You are eager to speak and get in front of a crowd, but it’s important to make sure your topic is relevant to the event and audience.

Short and sweet

As mentioned, event planners are very busy managing logistics for the event, working with vendors in addition to creating content and recruiting speakers. They may receive hundreds of inquiries and applications each day. Session descriptions, proposals and any email communications are well received when they are brief and to the point.

Present a unique point of view

Event organizers will receive hundreds (or thousands) of applications depending on the size of the event. Because of that, you want to present your topic with a unique approach. For example, if you want to present a session on “Yoga poses that will keep you energized throughout the day”, why not take a different perspective by offering to present “5 habits that are draining your energy (and the yoga poses that can help).” Offering a fresh and different point of view will help you stand out from the crowd.

Make it personal

When applying for multiple speaking engagements it’s tempting to copy and paste the same material. However, submitting an application that is tailored specifically to that group works best. You know how you feel when you get cc’d on a mass email, right? Now think about a time you’ve received a letter or email written specifically for you. It shows the person has taken time to craft a message that speaks to your interests or needs and generates a sincere feeling. Why not take a few extra minutes to craft a personalized message when submitting a speaking proposal?

Take Action!

Now it’s your turn to get those applications going. Make a list of events where you’d like to speak in the next three months. Choose one and craft the perfect pitch using the guidelines above.

If you’d like support with writing a proposal and finding speaking engagements, schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Get to know your audience, John Hughes style

When movie director John Hughes passed away, several actors from the infamous “brat pack” were interviewed about what it was like to work with the director.

A reporter asked Molly Ringwald how she was cast as Samantha, her character in Sixteen Candles. Turns out, Molly never auditioned for the role. John Hughes had pulled her photo from a stack of casting head shots. He posted her photo above his desk and began to write the script for the girl in the photo. This teenage girl he’d never met became his muse.

He imagined what life was like for her. What was her daily routine? Who were her friends? What were her interests? Dreams? Fears? So began the story of Samantha Baker and Sixteen Candles.

Getting to know your audience whether fictional or real, is the key to powerful storytelling. Like John Hughes, you have the opportunity to get inside your audience’s heart and mind.

Doing so, will empower you to create a presentation that resonates, inspires and makes an impact.

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Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash

Why you need to know your audience

Learning about your audience is what will help you create a story that resonates, inspires and makes an impact. Understanding your audience in detail – who they are, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, what problems they’re facing and solutions they are looking for – will help you tailor your presentation to hit on each of these elements.

It will help them feel understood as if you are speaking directly to them. This builds trust and will establish you as a thought leader.

In addition to creating connection with your audience, it will also help you identify which speaking opportunities are right for you. When you know your audience well you can begin to select engagements that attract your key audience saving you time and energy chasing after gigs that are not a fit.

How to understand your audience

As a speaker and entrepreneur, you know who your ideal audience is and what they care about. It’s important to – revisit your audience – or dive deeper because it will eliminate any assumptions or blind spots you have about who they are. It will help you update any information that may have changed and you may uncover new insights!

So how can you get to know your audience better? Here are a few ways to get started:

Interview your current clients

You spend time with and work with them daily. When was the last time you had a conversation that wasn’t related to business? When was the last time you asked about what they are working on, what their goals are, what challenges they’re having?

Why not take the time to find out? Set up a time outside of your regular appointments to hop on the phone or take them out for coffee. Ask a few questions to get the conversation started and then listen. Let them tell you where they are and what, if any guidance or solutions, they’re looking for.

Survey your community

Surveys are a fast, inexpensive way to learn about your audience. Use tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to create a questionnaire and then share it with your community. Send it to your clients, newsletter subscribers and share it on social. Within a few days, or hours, you’ll have new information and insights about your audience that will make your next presentation more impactful.

Leverage social media

If you blog or vlog often, you’re sitting on a goldmine of information. Go through old blogs and read through the comments to glean information about what your audience wants to needs to hear most. Go through your Facebook pages or groups to find out what’s hitting home with your audience.

Gathering all of this information will help you get into the heart of your audience members. The next time you write a speech, you’ll know exactly who you are writing to and what message will make a great impact.

If you’d like, create a fictitious audience member. Give her a name, print out a picture and hang it in front of computer. It worked for John Hughes. Why not you?

Want to understand your audience and make a greater impact? I’d love to help! Reserve your complimentary consultation to get started.

7 Ways to Prepare for Speaking Opportunities in the New Year

As the year comes to a close, there are a few ways you can prepare for speaking opportunities in the New Year.

Here are 7 things you can do before December 31 to set yourself up for success:

1. Update your bio – Is your bio current? Give your bio a refresh to reflect speaking engagements, media, interviews or awards you received in 2017.

2. Compile a list of recent speaking engagements – Where did you speak in 2017? Create a list with the name of the event, date and topic you presented. This list will come in handy when applying for speaking opportunities in the New Year.

3. Gather testimonials – Do you have testimonials from past speaking engagements? Like your business services, testimonials provide social proof of your speaking skills and value. Using the list you created above as a guide, reach out to each event organizer and ask for a brief testimonial you can use on your website and speaker materials.

4. Create a list of speaking opportunities for 2018 – You may have a list of key speaking engagements you’d like to book for the coming year. In addition, ask your network for recommendations of events, podcasts, livestreams and other speaking opportunities. It’s a great way to expand your reach.

5. Mark your calendar – Carve out time on your calendar in January, at least 15-30 minutes a day, to focus on your speaking strategy. This time can be used to build connections, research new opportunities and write proposals to book your next gig.

6. Update your social media profiles – Does your LinkedIn profile include speaking? Why not? Highlighting your speaking experience will make your profile stand out from other thought leaders in your industry. The next time an event planner is looking for a speaker, your profile will pop up to the top of the list!

7. Update your website – Like your bio and social media profiles, your website should reflect your most current speaking engagements. Create a separate page on your website to showcase your speaking experience and watch the opportunities flow your way!

Looking to ramp up your speaking in 2018? Schedule your complimentary call and get started today.